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Discussion Starter #1
Going to do the steering rack boots on my wife's 2006 Camry. Pretty sure they were good last fall when I had new tires put on, but they are obviously torn now.

I ordered the real Toyota boots and will have to unscrew the tie rod ends to get it on.

It seems to me that because I'm not changing out the tie rod or end, that all I have to do is put the tie rod end, back on with the same number of turns. Overoptimistic or "good enough"?

Also, on the frame under each of the torn steering boots, is some greasy/sticky goop. Like grease came out of the steering rack boot. But I sure don't think the boots are packed with grease or anything, so this goop must be entirely unrelated to the boots, right?
 

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08 Toyota Camry 2AZ-FE R9K Tuned
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You can probably get it back to spec if you put the tie rods back on where you got them. Personally I would get it aligned but then again I have lifetime alignment with Firestone. It's your choice to get them aligned.
 

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2010 Camry SE V6
2008 Camry LE
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Toe is a major tire wear angle. Meaning if it’s off even by a small amount, it will wear your tires in no time. Go by the counting threads rule to get it “good enough” and drive right to the alignment shop


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Did an alignment guy touched it after new tires? It might have been aligned without taking off the small clamp on the outer end of the boot.

Some grease might be there on the toothed end of the rack, as some grease should be put on there on assembly. Otherwise might be your rack end seals going? How's the reservoir level?

If a car's a keeper, consider buying a lifetime alignment early on. It'll pay you back usually on the 3rd alignment.


Going to do the steering rack boots on my wife's 2006 Camry. Pretty sure they were good last fall when I had new tires put on, but they are obviously torn now.

I ordered the real Toyota boots and will have to unscrew the tie rod ends to get it on.

It seems to me that because I'm not changing out the tie rod or end, that all I have to do is put the tie rod end, back on with the same number of turns. Overoptimistic or "good enough"?

Also, on the frame under each of the torn steering boots, is some greasy/sticky goop. Like grease came out of the steering rack boot. But I sure don't think the boots are packed with grease or anything, so this goop must be entirely unrelated to the boots, right?
 

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- if you are taking off the rod ends to get to the boots you might as well replace the inner ends too
- this is assuming your rack feels good with no lash/slop/play
- when boots fail, dirt gets in and sandpapers the gears creating lash
- unless recently replaced, id do inner and outer ends along with boots

- either measure the threads, count the number of threads showing, or count the number of turns
- all of those methods are sufficient to put it back where it was
- if you are concerned, get a 3D alignment after..

- grease/lube is used on the rack for obvious reasons.













:)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Did an alignment guy touched it after new tires? It might have been aligned without taking off the small clamp on the outer end of the boot.
Yes the most recent alignment came with new tires. Yes it seems likely that the rip came about shortly after the new tires.

So you think the tire shop, might have twisted ball joint side of the tie rod, like half a turn and ripped (or contributed to ripping) the boot? That's certainly possible. But the rubber of the boot seems like it is in pretty sad shape anyway.

Some grease might be there on the toothed end of the rack, as some grease should be put on there on assembly.
I spent some time feeling around. The goop feels/looks like the sticky grease that came from the ball joint on the inner tie rod. Although it must have fallen off the ball joint and onto the boot ages ago.

Otherwise might be your rack end seals going? How's the reservoir level?
I had a known minor PS leak at the reservoir hose that I remedied with a hose clamp a few years ago. Since then I've watched the level super religiously (I can even tell the difference between hot and cold weather) and I don't think there's any leak.

If a car's a keeper, consider buying a lifetime alignment early on. It'll pay you back usually on the 3rd alignment.
Not a big fan of taking the car to the shop and prefer to do stuff myself so we've only had two alignments, once with each tire change.

Another guy mentioned doing both the inner and outer tie rod ends at the same time. By push-pull inspection they seem fine although maybe I just jinxed myself and they're gonna go this fall.
 

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Yes the most recent alignment came with new tires. Yes it seems likely that the rip came about shortly after the new tires.

So you think the tire shop, might have twisted ball joint side of the tie rod, like half a turn and ripped (or contributed to ripping) the boot? That's certainly possible. But the rubber of the boot seems like it is in pretty sad shape anyway.



I spent some time feeling around. The goop feels/looks like the sticky grease that came from the ball joint on the inner tie rod. Although it must have fallen off the ball joint and onto the boot ages ago.



I had a known minor PS leak at the reservoir hose that I remedied with a hose clamp a few years ago. Since then I've watched the level super religiously (I can even tell the difference between hot and cold weather) and I don't think there's any leak.



Not a big fan of taking the car to the shop and prefer to do stuff myself so we've only had two alignments, once with each tire change.

Another guy mentioned doing both the inner and outer tie rod ends at the same time. By push-pull inspection they seem fine although maybe I just jinxed myself and they're gonna go this fall.

You could always do the alignment yourself... whether or not it is in spec even if it is "straight" is a different issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Update: After finding all the grease squeezed out of the outer tie rod ball joint boots and caked up on the outside of the boots, I decided to do both inner and outer tie rods too. It is possible there was a microscopic crack in the ball joint rubber boots that the grease leaked out of, but I think it's more likely that the grease just oozed out of the end of the boots as rubber stretched out over the decade+.

The outer tie rods were rusted in like holy heck. I ended up having to grind off one of the castle nuts because turning the castle nut was just rotating the ball joint.

Hint on popping the outer ball joints out: Hammering from the bottom does NOTHING. But a couple good swings on the side of the casting pops them right out.

Removing the inner tie rod with the Lisle tie rod tool and 29mm fitting, was super easy. One of the inner tie rods ball joints (under the most shredded boot) had some joint rust.

Despite the steering boots being completely full of holes, the steering rack hole and rod they covered seem completely new and shiny. So I guess the steering rack holes were fairly recent.

It was only a minor amount of work to slide the new boots over new parts and secure them with ties.

The goop I found, I think that goop was just lubricant the factory had used to lubricate the installation of the steering boots? Not 100% sure that's correct but the goop seemed to be only on the bottom of the steering boots and frame where it had leaked out, and not on any of the inner parts. I myself got the new steering boots on no problem without any goop so I'm a little unclear why the factory would've used so much goop at the factory.

I used Moog Problem-Solver Tie-Rods. Pretty impressed with them. The outer Moog tie rod has a grease fitting for pumping in more grease, which I think is a great idea because all the grease had run out of the factory ball joints. The new ball joints were significantly more stiff than the original somewhat floppy parts. The Moog parts have slightly bigger hex flats (e.g. the Moog inner tie rod takes a 1-3/16" tool as opposed to factory 29mm tool).

I got it back together with eyeball alignment then drove to and paid a local shop to do a real alignment.
 
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